Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling oversaw a loss-making commercial venture as Justice Secretary which lost the British taxpayer more than £1million, an investigation has found.
Just Solutions (JSi) was established in 2012 by Mr Grayling’s predecessor, Ken Clarke, and remained in operation until it was recently wound up by current Justice Secretary, Michael Gove.
Mr Grayling declined to comment.
As the commercial arm of the Department of Justice, it sold prisons expertise overseas, but came into criticism for working with countries with questionable human rights records like Saudi Arabia and Libya.
Its services included consultancy related to probation, offender management, payment by results, tagging and privatisation.
The National Audit Office (NAO) reported that while JSi’s costs were £2.1million, including £239,000 for consultancy, its income was just £1million.
This was due, in part, to its withdrawal from projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The NAO found: “JSi made a net loss of approximately £1.1 million in this period.
"This is due, in part, to the decision to withdraw from prospective arrangements with Saudi Arabia and Oman.
“The main contracts delivered by the JSi brand, between 2012 and 2015, were for training Royal Oman Police officers (£255,000), consultancy on prison design in Libya (£128,000) and contracts in Nigeria (£130,000), Australia (£89,000) and the Seychelles (£34,000)."
In September Mr Gove closed JSi down because of the need to focus resources domestically.
It was one in a series of MoJ policies Mr Gove has dropped since taking over in the summer, including the 'ban' on sending books to prisoners and the controversial cuts to legal aid.
Dia Chakravarty, the political director of the TaxPayers' Alliance criticised the MoJ's management of JSi, saying they 'hardly covered themselves in glory'.
Mrs Chakravarty said: "The venture appears to have cost taxpayers around £30,000 a month and it is essential that lessons are learned by all concerned so that we can ensure that such a loss-making project is not repeated in the future."